Maybe Bill de Blasio got lucky. Maybe he only won because he cut a sweet ad featuring his biracial son. Or because his rivals were either spectacularly boring, spectacularly pathological, or running for Michael Bloomberg’s fourth term. But I don’t think so. The deeper you look, the stronger the evidence that de Blasio’s victory is an omen of what may become the defining story of America’s next political era: the challenge, to both parties, from the left. It’s a challenge Hillary Clinton should start worrying about now.
While I agree with a few of Beinart’s points about how my generation is likely to move the country to the left on some issues, it is important to put this particular election in perspective.
New York City is one of the more liberal places in the country and the city has closed primaries. So in a liberal city during a primary election where only Democrats are allowed to vote for the Democratic candidates, the “most progressive” of the viable candidates won. While this is a positive development it is hardly earth-shattering or proof of anything. Similarly, the more conservative candidate winning a Republican primary in Utah is not necessarily an omen for a national shift to the right.
Being able to win with favorable conditions in a very favorable location is the bare minimum needed to show a group/movement has any political clout at all. Real trends are made up of more than one favorable example. This standard should be applied to arguments from all sides.
Photo by Bill de Blasio under Creative Commons license